In the face of the environmental, economic, social and cultural impacts arising from the high seasonality of tourism activities in Mediterranean islands, the WINTER MED partnership developed a transnational strategy aiming to foster the development of alternative, sustainable year-round tourism in Mediterranean island destinations, within and beyond the framework of the project. 


What is the WINTER MED Transnational year-round strategy for Mediterranean island destinations?

The WINTER MED strategy is the most important milestone of the project. It is a joint and collaborative document built on best practices, and lessons learned from the Regional Action Plans of the 6 pilots’ sites of the project – Tuscany, Cyprus, South Aegean, Dubrovnik-Neretva, Corse, and Balearic Islands. The strategy aims to lead sustainable tourism development in a collaborative integrated manner to foster dialogue, ownership, growth, innovation, and action among Mediterranean islands, working as one sustainable tourism destination. Indeed, this outcome of the project aims to foster a transnational perspective and encourage cooperation between regions. Based on seven values – sustainability, inclusivity, safety, competitiveness, gender equality, digitalisation, and high quality – the strategy sets up strategic axes, including innovation, governance, connectivity, biodiversity, and waste management. Thus, this strategy provides a rich and solid baseline to enhance sustainable and responsible tourism within and beyond Mediterranean islands.


To whom is it addressed?

The WINTER MED transnational strategy is addressed to all Mediterranean insular territories willing to move from “3 S”(Sun, Sea, and Sand) tourism to a sustainable all-year round tourism model, but also other regions beyond the Mediterranean facing the challenge of high seasonality of tourism.


Why is it relevant?

Mediterranean region and islands are facing important challenges due to the recent COVID-crisis and the effects of climate change. Indeed, tourism sector has been one of the most affected by the global pandemic, leading to a drop of 60% of international tourism in 2020 according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Mediterranean countries, especially islands which economy heavily relies on tourism activities, have been the most impacted by the crisis and have proven to be more vulnerable to the pandemic. Moreover, tourism in Mediterranean islands is subject to the cumulative effects of climate change, islands being exposed to extreme weather events, sea level rise, and temperature changes. However, Mediterranean insular territories also gather opportunities for sustainable year-round tourism to thrive. Thanks to their natural and cultural heritage, they are perfect places for the promotion of diverse tourism offers, and for the development of blue growth activities. Therefore, the WINTER MED strategy is based on these observations and lays the basis for the deployment of alternative sustainable and responsible all-year-round tourism. The strategy merges capacity building, financial support, integration, participation, and delivers tools for change and ensure its scaling-up beyond partners’ territories.